Gov. Janet Mills announced $5.4 million in grants for climate change resilience projects and clean energy workforce partnerships from Fort Kent to Chebeague Island on Thursday, the second anniversary of the release of Maine’s climate action plan.

“We are making unprecedented strides to embrace clean energy, to reduce carbon emissions, and to help our communities fight, at every level, the greatest danger of our time,” Mills said to the Maine Climate Council’s quarterly meeting, which was held at Colby College in Waterville.

“With our climate action plan as our guide, we will be the generation that protects this precious place we all call home, so that future generations may live in a Maine that is as beautiful and bountiful as it is today,” she said.

Of the state’s latest investment, $2.9 million will be used to support 91 Maine cities, towns and tribes through community resilience partnerships, which help Maine communities plan for climate change, reduce carbon emissions and transition to clean energy. This will come from the state’s general fund.

Grantees hail from around the state, from Fort Kent, which will use $50,000 to map culverts and storm drains and model flooding projections, to Chebeague Island, which will use $50,000 to do a climate vulnerability assessment, greenhouse gas emissions inventory, and groundwater sustainability study.

Local programs include:


•$50,000 to Brunswick to conduct a greenhouse gas inventory, set emissions reduction target
•$25,000 to Falmouth to buy electric mower for town, solicit bids for heat pumps for library
•$121,000 to Freeport and Yarmouth to hire a shared full-time sustainability coordinator
•$32,000 to Harpswell to upgrade town offices to LED lighting
•$125,000 to the Kennebunks to engage youth to prepare Dock Square for sea level rise
•$50,000 to North Yarmouth to develop a small-town approach to climate action planning
•$17,000 to Portland to join the Sustainable Neighborhoods Network certification program
•$50,000 to South Portland to finalize dynamic coastal inundation model for coastal resilience

Since the program launched last December, Maine has awarded partnership grants to 127 Maine communities.

Another $2.5 million will be awarded through workforce grants, funded by Mills’ Maine Jobs & Recovery Plan, to nine organizations through clean energy partnerships, which support the development of clean energy and energy efficiency jobs.

Some of the groups that will get grants in this round include Kennebec Valley Community College for training programs for electric vehicle repair and solar installation jobs, and the Associated General Contractors of Maine to expand construction pre-apprenticeship programs in Maine high schools.

“We need the skilled workforce to meet the growing demand,” said Dan Burgess, director of the Governor’s Energy Office. “This funding will support training and workforce development efforts across the state, allowing Maine people to enter and thrive in the clean energy sector.”

At the meeting, the council celebrated the anniversary of the plan, Maine Won’t Wait, and Maine’s path to carbon neutrality by 2045. Since its release, Mainers have installed about 82,000 high-efficiency heat pumps, registered more than 8,500 electric vehicles, and weatherized more than 9,100 homes.


The anniversary drew praise form local environmental groups like the Natural Resources Council of Maine.

“The incredible progress that has been made on climate action in Maine is a testament to the hard work of thousands across the state who have risen to the challenge,” said Jack Shapiro, NRCM’s director of climate and clean energy. “The climate action plan and investments from the federal government will allow us to continue this momentum.”

Kathleen Meil of Maine Conservation Voters said the plan made Maine into a climate action leader.

“Maine is truly addressing the climate crisis at the scale that science and justice demand,” Meil said.

Council members also discussed where Maine may be falling short of the plan’s ambitious climate goals, such as the number of new electric vehicle purchases falling due to supply chain problems. The council must also work harder to ensure that all Mainers, not just the wealthy, are being reached, members said.

The council equity committee will finalize recommendations to expand the scope of its work in January.

The first round of three-year appointments to the council, which was created in 2019, are now expiring. Mills must reappoint members, who represent Maine scientists, industry, local and state officials, youth and citizens at large, or name new ones.

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